Hiking with kids can be a lot of fun, but it isn’t always easy. While our kids love going on adventures, they often need a little push to keep hiking when they start to get tired or bored. Lately that push has been encouraging their passion for finding fossils (rocks) on the trail.
Yes. I know they are amassing a giant collection of rocks. But they really believe.
This weekend was a break from the lackluster February weather, so we took advantage and headed over to Mohican State Park for a hike. Here in Ohio it’s been rather rainy, so I was hoping that the famed Lyons Falls would actually have some water.
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Finally an Ohio waterfall that was just as exciting in person as it is on Instagram!
A serious win
Abby hiked the entire 2 miles on her own, and both girls carried their packs the entire way. We’ve been working on both of these goals lately. Last year we did this same hike and Abby could barely do a mile. Now, at 2, she’s so much more capable, it’s amazing how she’s grown.
Part of what has been working lately is making their packs fun! Both girls have 3 snacks in their hiking pack. They are allowed to eat them whenever they want but I won’t be giving out extras. Both girls seem to enjoy the freedom of choice.
There is a lot less incessant whining for snacks. Thank Goodness.
The snacks are fantastic, but the biggest thing that has kept hiking fun for the girls lately is fossil hunting. The girls are seriously OBSESSED with dinosaurs lately. We talk about dinosaurs constantly. The girls have dinosaur clothes, dinosaur books, a dino field guide, and the T-Rex we bought out west is one of the most loved toys in our home.
This T-Rex has been EVERYWHERE with us and is still going strong!
Every rock, stone, and pebble is a potential dinosaur fossil to the kids. They find all kinds of things when we hike, like Iguanadon teeth and Brachiosaurus neck bones. This does slow us down quite a bit, but it makes it so much more enjoyable for the kids!
We pack the girls magnifying glasses in their packs so they can examine their finds while we hike.
Take Creative Liberties!
Encourage a little bit of creative naming along the trail. There is a particular stretch of this trail in Mohican State Park that is like a very mini canyon (and that’s being generous), and we all excitedly dubbed this Fossil Canyon. As we were on our return to the car Abby got a little tired, but we were able to get her moving by excitedly talking about how close we were to Fossil Canyon.
Abby excitedly found a large stone and declared it was a dinosaur egg. She loves all things baby, so this was a particularly epic find. I did have to stop her from putting it in her backpack though. Not sure she’s quite ready for rock hauling at this age.
Olivia found some great teeth….
We eventually made it Lyons Falls and we were rewarded with an awesome sight. Olivia loved climbing on the boulders and getting sprayed with water. Abby hated it. You win some, you lose some?
Don’t worry about Abby though, once we bribed her with a snack she was perfectly fine to sit and watch Olivia play.
I’m super pumped that the girls are getting more capable on the trail, because we have another epic road trip/national park adventure coming soon! If I can get these girls to carry their own freaking snacks my life will be completely transformed on the trail. SO. MANY. SNACK. BREAKS. Plus… how adorable are these kids with their hiking packs?
We are heading out on a three week road trip in April!
Ohio – Colorado National Monument – Dinosaur National Monument – SLC – Capitol Reef National Park – Bryce Canyon National Park – Grand Canyon National Park – Zion National Park – SLC – Ohio!
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Also – I’m still looking for awesome places to stop between Salt Lake City and Ohio, so drop your knowledge in the comments!